State Sen. Marty Golden blames Hinsch’s closure on Bay Ridge food carts

The Brooklyn Paper
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State Sen. Marty Golden claims food carts starved iconic Bay Ridge eatery Hinsch’s to death — but the beloved luncheonette’s owner says his business actually withered away because of the neighborhood’s fat rents and changing tastes.

Golden (R–Bay Ridge) blamed Hinsch’s impending March 1 closure on a pair of halal vendors that park down the block on Fifth Avenue between 86th and 87th streets, claiming the carts forced the ice cream parlor out of business because they benefit from unfair advantages, such as not paying rent or utilities.

“In large part, the thriving food cart industry on the corner has closed Hinsch’s,” said Golden, calling for a crackdown on street sellers. “The vendors have won this battle, but we can’t allow this to continue.”

Hinsch’s co-owner Roger Desmond — who saved his soda fountain from the brink of closure in 2011 — said he was never in competition with the chicken-and-rice peddlers because his confectionery appealed to young families and the elderly, while cart-goers were typically 20-something singles.

“The clientele I have is not a food cart type-clientele,” he said. “They had nothing to do with Hinsch’s closing.”

Desmond doesn’t blame the carts for the death of Hinsch’s — but he’s no fan of the falafel wagons.

Last spring, Desmond — who pays $9,000 in monthly rent and $15,000 in water bills annually — joined other brick-and-mortal merchants to protest the vendors in a demonstration dubbed “Save Our Streets.”

Advocates for the sellers of sellers of meals on wheels spat out Golden’s claims, claiming that studies show cheap eats on-the-go don’t take customers from storefront businesses.

“It has been shown that vendors do not compete with brick-and-mortars,” said Sean Basinski, director of the Street Vendor Project, a group that lobbies on behalf of mobile vendors. “People looking for a sit-down experience at a restaurant aren’t going to go to a food cart.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
Updated 5:38 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reader feedback

VLM from Park Slope says:
I knew Golden was stupid but I didn't realize he was this stupid.
Jan. 12, 2013, 1:16 am
Jay from Bay Ridge says:
if Hinsch changed into Starbucks operating system, it can compete. no waiters, smaller menu, less meat, more caffeine.
Jan. 12, 2013, 9:54 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
I passed that food cart on 86/5 yesterday and the area around it was filthy.
Jan. 12, 2013, 11:16 am
Kat from Bay Ridge says:
The food cart on 86th brings life to the corner-- it's NOT filthy, and it's a place where people can grab some delicious food on the way home from work.
Jan. 12, 2013, 1:32 pm
Calvin from Bay ridge says:
Without these cart NYC workers would pay more in tax on monthly income. These cart file and pay sales tax to the city every 3 months. Vendors make a fair balance with the people that pays taxes without increasing tax and reducing wages.
Jan. 12, 2013, 1:34 pm
the orginal JAY from NYC says:
so Goldman has officially come out against free enterprise competition? What kind of Republican is he exactly?
Jan. 12, 2013, 3:01 pm
Beverly from Brooklyn says:
Basinski is off the mark with his assumptions about the food trucks and carts not cutting into restaurants business. The temptation of grabbing something quick and cheap on the street wins me over all the time. It isn't that I wouldn't be willing to spend more for a sit down meal inside, but the lure of getting something so quickly on the spot. The trucks get to capitalize on a harried culture. It would be nice if both could coexist peacefully. I think that would mean that the trucks and carts would need to be in areas that aren't in areas that already have restaurants though. I wouldn't want to see laws written though, but something of a gentleman's agreement. That said, I doubt that could happen in such a dog eat dog culture.
Jan. 12, 2013, 4:59 pm
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
food carts = tasty quick lunch for about $5 bucks. I don't see why I should pay more because store rents are so high. So something else will open here and it will either compete , or not. If enough places don't make it the rent goes down.I noticed that food carts are not putting fast food resteraunts out of business. BTW, if you haven't tired a Halal cart you really are missing something
Jan. 12, 2013, 5:07 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I am glad that the owner Hinsch doesn't buy into Golden's scapegoating of the food carts. It's not as if those carts gave ice cream as well, so they wouldn't have to worry about that. Unfortunately, the rents do rise to much and either rent control or regulations mean nothing if the city or even the landlord can just raise them easily to a price they can no longer afford to be there and make it no longer up for negotiation. Another thing is that is some markets, it's cheaper to rent than to actually buy, though some do that to avoid certain taxes. Seriously, I am getting tired of this scapegoating of the food carts, and they do pay to sell their things. BTW, I have tried from a halal cart being Israeli-born myself. Nevertheless, you can always go over to Gem Spa over in the East Village in Manhattan at the corner of St Mark's Avenue at 2nd Avenue if you still want an egg cream, though it's not really made with eggs despite its name.
Jan. 12, 2013, 5:22 pm
Bayridgite from Bay Ridge says:
@Jane from Brooklyn Heights--they changed the restaurant in hopes of saving it. Apparently it wasn't enough. It's a shame--it's one of my favorite restaurants.
Jan. 12, 2013, 5:33 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
so if i am at coney island i should not buy a knish from th knish man on the beach? or grab a sabrette in midtown - just bay ridge bigots - end of story
Jan. 12, 2013, 6:57 pm
Joe Blow from Bay Ridge says:
Hinsch's closed because they serve bland food in a dated, unattractive setting. The food carts had very little to do with Hinsch's demise.

That said, the food carts are absolutely disgusting. The city should charge the food carts a market rent for their exclusive use of city land, force them to cart away their garbage, and most of all, subject them to the same sanitary/health inspections that restaurants must pass. The carts get a free ride on rent ($200 a year) and a free pass on sanitation.
Jan. 12, 2013, 7:29 pm
Joe Blow from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Old Time from Brooklyn, for you I recommend a steady diet of dirty dogs and sandy knishes. Breakfast lunch and dinner. You'll explode in a hail of fat and gristle within a year, if the dysentery doesn't get you first.
Jan. 12, 2013, 7:34 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
i think a walk in the bushes on shore road will fill you with some twinky cream as well. i have a full head of hair and can see my feet standing = can you shmeckala? Marty is an old a--hole cop - and every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints
Jan. 12, 2013, 10:27 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
joe blow - you have the handle for the bushes on shore road = mazel tov
Jan. 12, 2013, 10:43 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
joe blow - you sure have the name for a stroll in the bushes on shore road= a protien packed gulp =- mazel tov
Jan. 12, 2013, 10:44 pm
Simone from Kensington says:
I personally do not find hallal cart food appetizing or an attractive addition to any neighborhood. I loved Hinsch luncheonette; especially before they remodeled .

In the end what kept me from going down that way was sidewalk & area overcrowding. The area was getting ever more filthy and unappealing which coincides exactly with the arrival of those food carts. Hinsch will be missed but Bay Ridge made its choice. Keep your filth, crowds and food carts. I'll go elsewhere!
Jan. 13, 2013, 6:22 am
Abby Smith from Bay Ridge says:
I have to agree. The carts are magnets for low class people from other neighborhoods. Real Bay Ridge people eat at restaurants.
Jan. 13, 2013, 9:49 am
Joe Blow from Bay Ridge says:
@ Old Time Brooklyn

Was that you that I arrested again in Shore Road Park last week? You really have to clean up your act. Have another dirty dog, and top it off with some more street meat. Just stay out of the parks, or I'll have to run you in again.
Jan. 13, 2013, 10:52 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If you don't like going to the food carts, then just don't go near them. It's not as if someone is pointing a gun at your head or knife at your throat telling you to either buy from them or they will murder you. If restaurants are what you want, then eat there and pay the prices, but let those of us who want to the carts go there. I thought this was the US, but maybe I am wrong and Bay Ridge is part of some communist country where they only want what they want to be there.
Jan. 13, 2013, 1:27 pm
ty from pps says:
"I have to agree. The carts are magnets for low class people from other neighborhoods."

Jan. 13, 2013, 5:56 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
Jan. 13, 2013, 6:19 pm
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
Cringing at Marty Golden public statements has become all too frequent and embarassing. This old crank pot has got to go.

Retire Marty!!
Jan. 14, 2013, 4:45 pm
W from DUMBO says:
While I think Marty was probably wrong in this instance, he is right that they benefit unfairly from low license fees and lack of rent (the convoluted license system could be another long post). A more just solution would be to charge street vendors rent equivalent to the brick and mortar prices in the neighborhood or auction off the rights to preselected spaces in the city. I work in DUMBO and appreciate the variety food trucks bring to the neighborhood but when I buy lunch from them, I am not buying it from a brick and mortar restaurant. The food trucks haven't made long term commitments to the neighborhood and they aren't open at any time expect the height of the lunch time rush. The brick and mortar restaurants are open early for breakfast, late for dinner and make efforts to support the neighborhood and its businesses. While there are some food trucks that park in semi-permanent spaces, they still don't invest in the kind of infrastructure improvements that brick and mortar restaurants do. My money would be better invested in the neighborhood by supporting the brick and mortar restaurants.
Jan. 14, 2013, 5:08 pm
David D. from Bay Ridge says:
Wow, Marty is really an idiot! An ice cream/soda fountain with waiter service is now competing with a gyro cart? What the hell?
Jan. 16, 2013, 4:22 pm
Edilberto Durano from says:
All this pointing and blaming. Why don't he point his finger to himself? And eat ice cream while he's at it.
Ed of
Feb. 10, 2013, 8:09 pm
alice from Bay aridge says:
Why don't the Golden's take care of there own catering hall AND STOP DOUBLE PARKING THERE CARS ON 76 Street-and rental properties as they should and not be called slum landlords! Wow Marty you blew it again as with your professional classes for women! Time for you to retire and collect your disability pension from NYC police department!
May 3, 2013, 5:05 pm
alice from Bay aridge says:
Why don't the Golden's take care of there own catering hall AND STOP DOUBLE PARKING THERE CARS ON 76 Street-and rental properties as they should and not be called slum landlords! Wow Marty you blew it again as with your professional classes for women! Time for you to retire and collect your disability pension from NYC police department!
May 3, 2013, 5:05 pm

Comments closed.

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